We’re big fans of Garmin’s bike radar solution, which shows you any vehicles behind the bike as blips on a screen, making it just that much easier to keep yourself safe on the road. The new Garmin Varia Rearview Radar takes that radar and improves on it.
Designed to keep you informed of any cars behind you, the device can provide both visual and audible alerts, so you can take any necessary precautions without having to look behind you and take your eyes off the road. No more trying to figure out whether you’re hearing engine sounds from the back, as a single glance at the companion app should tell you everything you need to know about the dangers that lurk behind.
The Garmin Varia Rearview Radar installs vertically on the back of the seatpost, so it won’t get in the way of your legs as you pedal, all while having a clear line of sight to any vehicles that might be on their way. According to the outfit, it can detect any vehicle approaching from behind up to 153 yards away, so you can be duly prepared whenever any cars are about to come up to your position. Do note, this is the radar-only version of this accessory, so it doesn’t come with a built-in rear light that will alert motorists of your presence, leaving your safety on the road largely up to you.
If you own a Garmin Edge bike computer, the radar will send its readings directly to the device, where you can see a graphical rendition of the cars it detects behind you, showing exactly how fast they’re coming up and how close they are. The graphics, by the way, are much improved from previous versions, which originally showed cars as mere blips, making the information much easier to digest. Aside from the graphical display, the device will also make an audible alert whenever cars are nearby to ensure you’re prompted to glance down at the screen.
The Garmin Varia Rearview Radar also works with the Varia smartphone app, in case you don’t have an Edge bike computer. You get to see, pretty much, the same graphical display as that on the bike computer, so you will be fully informed about the vehicles coming up right behind you, complete with the same audible prompts and alerts. If you prefer using a different mobile navigation app while cycling, data from the radar is also compatible with third-party apps (e.g. Ride with GPS) and overlays data from the radar over the maps to provide alerts as needed.
The device itself measures 1.8 x 2.8 x 0.8 inches (width x height x depth) and weighs 1.8 ounces, so it won’t really add much in terms of size or weight to any bicycle. Since it will likely be a permanent fixture on your bike, it’s waterproof to IPX7 standards, so even the hardest rain won’t be able to inflict any damage on it. It has both Bluetooth and ANT+ for wireless communication, as well as an onboard battery rated at seven hours of operation.
The Garmin Varia Rearview Radar is available now, priced at $149.99.